Posts Tagged ‘Comics Enriched Their Lives’

Comics Enriched Their Lives! #21 (a/k/a Comics That Never Were #4)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

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Of note are [Milo Manara‘s] two collaborations with Federico Fellini (a comic book enthusiast and a cartoonist himself), both in the director’s final years. The first, Viaggio a Tulum, appeared in 1986; the second and final one was supposed to be a completed version of Il viaggio di G. Mastorna, the movie Fellini had attempted to make during most of his career (the autobiographical 8 1/2 refers to the director’s failure to start the production of this very film).

Curiously, due to Fellini’s illness and a bizarre printing accident when the comic was serialized in the magazine il Grifo, even the comic book version was left unfinished. The next two installments would have told of Mastorna’s travels in the afterlife, but due to a printing mistake, the word END appeared at the bottom of the last page of the first episode. The always superstitious Fellini then decided it was a good place to stop and withdrew from the project. Il viaggio di G. Mastorna is to this day considered by many Italian film critics the most famous never-filmed movie in the history of cinema.

—Simone Castaldi, Drawn and Dangerous: Italian Comics of the 1970s and 1980s

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #19 and #20


Thursday, January 6, 2011

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Okay, these are both gimmes, basically, but since there are two of them, maybe that’s the equivalent of one solid post. Plus they’re both literary, so you know this is some well thought out bloggery.

First, in the immortal words of Paul Hardcastle: 19.

Rocketman, like comic books, is assembled by the Raketen-Stadt in order to serve Their designs. When he no longer serves Their ends, They dismantle him. But fragments of him survive in Pynchon‘s text. No one who reads Gravity’s Rainbow will forget the legend of Rocketman, the greatest preterite super-hero of the postmodern world. For a moment, he defied Their will and fought for truth, justice, and the Pynchon way.

—H. Brenton Stevens, “‘Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s . . . Rocketman!': Pynchon’s Comic Book Mythology in Gravity’s Rainbow

I haven’t actually done more than skim that essay yet, by the way, as I am currently nearing the halfway mark in Gravity’s Rainbow, and don’t want to spoil things for myself. From a cursory perusal, it looks like Stevens may miss or downplay some of the subtler comic-book connections going on, such as the repeated Plastic Man references, but more knowledgeable others (and a future me) are better positioned to determine that. I will say that at this point I better understand why Thomas Pynchon tapped Frank Miller for the cover, a move that no longer seems intentionally perverse, but rather extremely apt—I just wish Miller hadn’t ultimately turned in such a relatively restrained image.

And now, 20:

At first I was read to. My grandfather had taught Greek and Latin at Columbia, and he read to me from a book that had abbreviated versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad—plus a lot of classic fairy tales, which, as you know, are extremely disturbing. Then I began reading on my own. I read mostly Westerns. My parents approved of that, because at least they were books. But when I got into comic books, they disapproved. I would read them by flashlight under the covers. No one realized in those days that 1930s Action Comics and DC Comics, Superman and Batman, would become legendary in American culture. They taught me a great deal about narrative—lots of invention and no pretense of realism.

—Harry Mathews, interviewed in the Spring 2007 issue of The Paris Review

Also no real surprise, considering the various Ou-X-Po connections, but there you go.

[Tip of the hat to DB for the latter.]

P.S. I finally got a copy of Neonomicon #3, so anyone interested in the CCCBC should find and read a copy before next week if you want to follow along.

UPDATE: Since I posted this, I found a more up-to-date and comprehensive article about Pynchon/comics connections online at The Walrus, written by Sean Rogers. I recommend it and you can read it here.

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #18


Thursday, November 11, 2010

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Dino De Laurentiis, film producer.

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #17


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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I’ve started to wonder whether what I read as a child wasn’t more important. […] And then there was Pif le chien, a comic book published by Editions Vaillant and sponsored by the Communist Party. I realize now when I reread it that there was a Communist bent to many of Pif’s adventures. For example, a prehistoric man would bring down the local sorcerer in single combat and explain to the tribe that they didn’t need a sorcerer and that there was no need to fear thunder. The series was very innovative and of exceptional quality.

—French novelist Michel Houellebecq, interviewed in The Paris Review No. 194

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #16


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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He titled one collection I Hate Poems About Poems About Poems, which is almost as good a title as that of his 2000 cartoon collection, Teach Yourself Fucking. … [Jeffrey] Lewis says he was also working on a history of radical cartoons that would draw upon his voluminous personal collection.

—From an obituary for legendary Fug, poet, anarchist, and cartoonist Tuli Kupferberg. R.I.P.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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Stern Writing Workshop Handouts

Stewart Stern, Rebel Without a Cause and The Ugly American screenwriter, now 88, uses “splat” (inspired by this Feiffer strip) regularly to describe any obstacle in life. Stern: “Our lives are made of Splats, and our personalities are shaped by the way we go through Splat.” 

A documentary on his life is even titled Going Through Splat.  

Stern does a writing workshop where he gives you a starting line and you continue it, writing whatever pops into your head. Starting lines include: “The secret about me/myself that might come out if I confront Splat are…” or (my favorite) “Now, as I plunge into the vortex of Splat, the burning core of all of my hopes and dreams, I see, hear, taste and feel…”

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Comics Enriched Their Lives! #15


Friday, November 6, 2009

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Most of the collectors whose libraries we bought were dead years before the libraries came to us, so the only way we could judge the level of eccentricity in the collectors was the books themselves, or from other evidence. …

An Orientalist named Paul Linebarger, whose father, we were told, had been Sun Yat-sen’s lawyer, had absolutely wonderful books, but he had other things, too. He was an early expert on psychological warfare, which I believe he later taught. In one of his closets, for example, we found a huge pile of anticommunist comic books in Mongolian. Paul Linebarger also wrote science fiction, under the name Cordwainer Smith. And he had an interest in ladies’ lingerie. One of the more unusual things we bought from his estate was a bra mannequin, complete with bra. Several drawers full of bras we let lie.

—Larry McMurtry, Books: A Memoir

I realize that most of you have probably never heard of Smith, but that’s okay. We won’t shy away from celebrating the unjustly obscure here. Scanners need no longer live in vain.


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